Not All Castles Have Dragons

Trip Start Aug 29, 2010
Trip End Oct 04, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, September 13, 2010

Now it was time for our last and best tour in Prague, the Castle Tour! This one took us to the area around the castle, one that was a bit less crowded by tourists. First, we started at the gardens of the Senate, which were very pretty and inhabited by peacocks! They have peacocks, peahens, peababies (yes, baby peacocks, big aww), all white ones (very rare) and blue green ones. There was also something that looked like the inside of a cave called the Grotto that had stalactites looking things and strange animal faces. From there, we saw the Strahov Monastery, the church of St. Norbert, the foreign ministry building, a secret Communist prison, and Mozart's house in the movie Amadeus.
One funny story we heard was about Saint Uncumber, a woman who dedicated her life to the church. Her father was forcing her to marry a prince when all she wanted to do was worship God, so she prayed really hard the night before her wedding day to the big guy upstairs for him to help her out. The next morning when she is walking down the aisle, everyone sees that Uncumber has a long and manly beard! The prince obviously is horrified and calls off the wedding, thus saving Uncumber from getting married. Now there is a church dedicated to her in Prague, and she is the patron saint of women in bad relationships.
After this, we finally made it to the castle! For the largest Medieval castle in the world, it didn't really look like what I had imagined, instead it was a series of courtyards surrounded by government offices and museums. However, the church of St. Vitus was very awe inspiring. Started in 1344, it was in construction until 1929 due to several wars, stoppages, and disturbances which slowed its construction. One funny example of the glacial building was that one of its towers was started in the Gothic style but the last 10 meters or so are topped off by a cap in the Renaissance style! It's pretty obvious too!
Additionally, we had managed to catch the changing of the guard at the south/main entrance of the castle. The guards here are much less strict than the ones in London and have been know to talk to each other, laugh and supposedly hit extremely annoying tourists! We were also surprised about the lack of obvious security around the castle grounds especially since the president of the Czech Republic was in residence. Maybe no one really cares about him...
Our tour ended with some very picturesque views of the city from the castle. Afterwards, we booked it back to our hostel in order to pick up our laundry, which closes at 7pm, and it was already past 6. This was such a busy day for us that we called it a chill night and turned in rather early, after some souvenir shopping of course.
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